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Calder Cup winner to lead Flames

Jim Playfair, who guided the Saint John Flames to a Calder Cup championship in 2001, has been named the new head coach of the NHL’s Calgary Flames.

Playfair succeeds Darryl Sutter, who remains the club’s general manager.

“I consider Jim Playfair as one of the top young coaches in our league today with more experience than the majority of that group,” said Sutter. “Jim has won at every level, both as a player and a coach, he is well prepared and well deserving of this opportunity. To be able to have young head coaches like Jim Playfair and [Omaha’s] Ryan McGill within our organization is significant.”

Playfair was originally named assistant coach with the Flames on Jan. 3, 2003, and helped the club reach the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004.

Playfair was named head coach of the Saint John Flames on Aug. 10, 2000, and spent three seasons with Calgary’s primary development club in the AHL. During the 2000-01 season, his first behind the bench in Saint John, Playfair led the Flames to their only Calder Cup championship and was named the Minor Pro Coach of the Year by The Hockey News.

The 42-year-old native of Fort St. James, B.C., played nine seasons of professional hockey, including three in the AHL with the Nova Scotia Oilers. Playfair becomes the fifth active NHL head coach to have won a Calder Cup, joining Atlanta’s Bob Hartley, Carolina’s Peter Laviolette, Nashville’s Barry Trotz and Tampa Bay’s John Tortorella.

Seventeen of the 30 current NHL head coaches are former AHL head coaches, while 25 are AHL alumni as either coaches or players.